With ongoing appellate cases in California and Ontario, there is significant discussion about whether individuals with moral objections to brain death should be declared dead by neurological criteria.
While California, New York and Illinois require hospitals to briefly accommodate after brain death, only New Jersey completely exempts objecting individuals from being declared dead in the first place. Discussions over whether the New Jersey rule should be extended often lack one one important piece of information: How has the New Jersey rule worked so far?
While small, a new study helps answer that question. Summarizing the data in their chart reprinted below, the authors state “religious exemptions to DNC in New Jersey do occur, although they are rare.”
The authors conclude that “there is a need for either state or national policies that acknowledge religious objections to DNC.” But they concede “more work is needed to better understand the impact of granting religious exemptions before new policy can be established.”